Lipitor (atorvastatin) has been used by millions of people to reduce their cholesterol levels. Unfortunately, some individuals developed severe side effects. If you developed type-2 diabetes, you may qualify for a lawsuit.
Lipitor Side Effects
Lipitor (atorvastatin) is a cholesterol-lowering medication. It is the most popular drug in a class of drugs called statins that work by preventing the liver from producing low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol. Although this is a good way to reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke in patients with pre-existing cardiovascular disease, it can have some very serious side effects.
Lipitor side effects include:
- Type-2 diabetes
- Muscle pain or damage
- Kidney damage and failure
- Liver damage and failure
- Memory loss
Lipitor and Type-2 Diabetes
According to this Drug Safety Communication from February 2012, Lipitor can elevate blood-sugar levels, which may increase the risk of type-2 diabetes — especially for post-menopausal woman. The risk of diabetes from Lipitor is very concerning, because the disease is chronic and grows progressively worse if it is not managed. Diabetes is also one of the leading causes of heart disease, liver failure, kidney problems, and more.
Lipitor and Muscle Pain
Muscle pain is a very common side effect of Lipitor, but the severity varies widely. It may feel like minor weakness, tiredness, or soreness in the muscles. In some cases, muscle pain from Lipitor can be very severe and interfere with daily activities, climbing stairs, or exercise.
It is unclear what causes muscle pain in Lipitor patients. However, in addition to influencing cholesterol, Lipitor may affect the liver’s production of enzymes that are responsible for muscle growth. Without these enzymes, the muscles may feel uncomfortable or sore.
Individuals who are experiencing muscle pain while taking Lipitor should talk to a doctor, because they may be in the first stages of a life-threatening muscle disease called rhabdomyolysis.
Lipitor and Rhabdomyolysis
One of the most serious side effects of Lipitor is rhabdomyolysis. This involves the rapid destruction of skeletal muscles. In severe cases, rhabdomyolysis can cause severe muscle pain, liver damage, kidney failure, and death. The risk of rhabdomyolysis is higher for individuals who take higher doses of Lipitor.
Lipitor and Kidney Damage
Kidney damage can occur gradually or suddenly in Lipitor patients. The kidneys are organs that are responsible for filtering the blood and removing waste products. If their delicate filtration system is damaged, they may fail to remove medications from the bloodstream, which can cause toxic levels of medications to build up in the body.
Sudden kidney failure can occur in patients who develop severe muscle damage from rhabdomyolysis. The muscles can release a protein called myoglobin which clogs the kidneys’ filtration system. Patients with kidney failure may need dialysis (mechanical cleaning of their blood) or a kidney transplant.
Lipitor and Liver Damage
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that patients should have their liver enzyme levels tested before they start using Lipitor. One symptom of liver damage is elevated liver enzyme levels in the bloodstream. During clinical trials, this occurred in 2.3% of patients taking high doses of Lipitor (80-mg per day).
Lipitor and Memory Loss
At first, it may not make sense how Lipitor could cause memory loss. However, about 25% of the body’s cholesterol is actually located in the brain, and cholesterol is an essential building-block of neurons. Cholesterol insulates neurons, which protects electrical signals involved in memory, learning, cognition, and quick-thinking. Without cholesterol, the brain would not be able to function.